Mental Health Parity and the Bailout — Update

The Senate passed its “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” by a 75-24 vote tonight. The mental health parity bill is Section 512 of the Act. The House will consider the bill on Friday. I expected the mental health parity bill to be enacted this year but not this way.

The major difference between FEHBP mental health parity and this new legislation is that FEHBP mental health parity requires in-network parity only while the new legislation requires both in and out of network parity. The new legislation, if adopted on Friday, will become applicable to the FEHBP for the 2010 contract year.